Sep 08 2017
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa today urged the Office of National Drug Control Policy to include an evaluation of drug take back programs in the final report of the President’s Commission on Combatting Opioid Abuse, correcting a shortcoming in the interim report.
“Unfortunately, the interim report did not include any reference to prescription drug take back programs,” Grassley and Ernst wrote to Richard Baum, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “We believe these programs may be an effective part of an all-of-the-above strategy to approaching the opioid epidemic. We write today to urge the Commission to include an evaluation of prescription drug take back programs in the final report.”
Grassley and Ernst wrote that many people who are prescribed opioids are unsure of how to dispose of them, worsening the problem of the diversion of controlled substances to those other than the prescription holders. Congress has enacted polices to promote drug take back programs, including allowing local pharmacies to accept unused controlled substances. Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of drug take back programs in curbing abuse, the senators wrote.
Iowans have participated enthusiastically in drug take back programs such as those sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
At Grassley and Ernst’s request, the U.S. Government Accountability Office is studying the DEA’s implementation of the law allowing local pharmacies to accept unused controlled substances for public convenience, amid concerns that regulations present barriers to participation. A draft report is expected very soon. Oct. 28, 2017 is the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, created to increase public awareness of these programs.
The Grassley-Ernst letter is available here.